New insights into the mechanisms of crystallisation and vitrification : a dynamic light scattering study of colloidal hard spheres

Martinez, V 2009, New insights into the mechanisms of crystallisation and vitrification : a dynamic light scattering study of colloidal hard spheres, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Applied Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title New insights into the mechanisms of crystallisation and vitrification : a dynamic light scattering study of colloidal hard spheres
Author(s) Martinez, V
Year 2009
Abstract This thesis reports on a comprehensive experimental study of the collective dynamics of colloidal hard sphere suspensions. The main quantity measured is the coherent Intermediate Scattering Function (ISF) using a range of techniques based on Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS). The collective dynamics are measured as a function of scattering vector for volume fractions spanning from dilute samples, through the fluid phase and the metastable region, up until deep in the glass region. This work describes two major explorations: (i) the effect of volume of fraction on the q-dependency of the collective dynamics; and (ii) a study of the ageing processes in colloidal glasses. The present work is unique in the application of several advanced experimental techniques, and in the level of averaging that has been carried out, enabling a more sophisticated analysis than has previously been poss ible. This includes the characterization of non-Fickian processes and the determination of the current-current correlation function (CCCF) in the metastable fluid, and the quantitative characterization of the ageing process in the hard sphere glass. In addition, by combining aspects of the coherent and incoherent ISFs, this work also allows the expression of the collective dynamics in terms of the single particle displacement. The results show a dynamical change at the freezing point (Фf), which exposes the incapacity of the system to dissipate thermal energy via diffusing momentum currents, i.e. viscous flow. The structural impediments responsible for this, associated with dynamical heterogeneities, begin at the structure factor peak, and spread to other spatial modes as the volume fraction increases. Above the glass transition (Фg), structural relaxation becomes arrested at all spatial modes probed, i.e. flow is arrested. It is found that, following the quench, samples above the glass volume fraction approach some final "ideal" glass in an algebraic manner. However, although the long time dynamics exhibit ageing, the non-ergodicity factor, a measure of the average structure of the sample, does not show any significant ageing. This dynamical ageing process, decoupled from changes in the average structure, is identified with irreversible exchange of particles.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Applied Sciences
Keyword(s) Colloids
Light Scattering
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